September 26, 2018 O'Connor's Americana Collection
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/26/2018
According to "The Journal of the Company of Military Historians", Vol. 19, from 1967, this "USA" button mold is one of only two known Continental Revolutionary War button molds in existence. The other known example is a bronze gang mold for five "USA" buttons and is the property of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Both are similar in construction to bullet molds of the period, with the addition of the bottom plate with the button cavities rather than bullets. Composed of bronze with iron rivets. The two upper portions contain the eye cavities and gates for pouring the metal. Both top portions have tangs where wooden handles could be attached. This mold casts two buttons of different sizes, one 11/16" and the other 13/16" in diameter. The letters read "USA" in script. Upper portions pivot on separate posts. This mold was dated between 1777 and 1781 by Duncan Campbell. It was acquired from a Pennsylvania antique dealer by Don H. Berkebile, who was an employee of the Smithsonian Institute. He owned it for over 50 years, until his death. Included is a detailed receipt that the mold was purchased by Walter O'Connor directly from the Estate of Don. Berkebile in 2009. According to Don Troiani, on page 97 of "Military Buttons of The American Revolution", Continental "USA" buttons have been found on nearly every Revolutionary War site from the New York frontier to Georgia. It was the most widely used, marked military button of the Continental Army. Several have been found at the Saratoga battlefield. In 1778, George Measam, the Assistant Clothier General of the Northern Army remarked in response to the "plain white buttons" found on French Lottery coats, " (should) be in the future marked U.S. to show the property of the United States in them..." In the clothing specifications of 1778, regulations stated "The buttons to be of block tin or brass and cast solid, with a strong eye or shank with the letters USA in Roman letters on each button." Complete with copies of both cited articles pertaining to this mold and USA buttons. Very good condition, showing some use and with a dark patina. A very rare and important piece of Revolutionary War history.
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $6,600.00
Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.
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